Posted by: becketfund | February 15, 2009

Pakistan: Islamic Law Restored in Swat

ISLAMABAD ā€“ Pakistani officials worked out a peace deal with a Taliban-linked group that could lead to the enforcement of elements of Islamic law in parts of Pakistan’s northwest, prompting insurgents in the Swat Valley to declare a 10-day cease-fire as a goodwill gesture on February 15, the AP reported on February 15. Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan said the insurgents would adhere to any deal reached with the group if Islamic law was actually implemented in the region. In announcing the 10-day cease-fire, Khan said, “We reserve the right to retaliate if we are fired upon,” but he added: “Once Islamic law is imposed there will be no problems in Swat. The Taliban will lay down their arms.” Arshad Abdullah, the provincial law minister, has stressed that the agreement would require the pro-Taliban group to persuade the insurgents to first give up violence. “Our agreement is conditioned on peace,” Abdullah said. It remains to be seen exactly how the government will define Islamic law. A similar deal reached last year was supposed to let religious scholars advise judges in the courts, but its implementation failed. The Swat Taliban’s version of Islamic law bans female education, insists on women mostly staying indoors, and forbids many forms of entertainment.

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